Air Travel Union Leaders Warn of ‘Safety’ Risks to the Public Due to ‘Unprecedented’ Shutdown

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Air Line Pilots Association, and Association of Flight Attendants released a joint statement Wednesday evening imploring the White House and Congress to end the shutdown to avoid a “disruption” in the U.S. aviation system. “[W]e cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented,” the statement from NATCA President Paul Rinaldi, ALPA President Joe DePete, and AFA President Sara Nelson read. The three union leaders described how some employees continued to work overtime hours without pay in the effort to keep the quality of safety at pre-shutdown levels, but said “safety inspectors and federal cybersecurity staff are not back on the job at pre-shutdown levels.” They also said they were “not confident that system-wide analyses of safety reporting data” was “100 percent operational” due to “reduced FAA resources.” Previously, the Transportation Service Administration said some workers have had to stop working due to “financial limitations.”